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General News    H2'ed 11/23/12

Power, Sex, and Symbiotic Attachment

General David Petracus' resignation and admission of an extramarital affair bloody the waters and the news media are in a feeding frenzy. Another powerful man been brought down by having inappropriate sexual relation with a beautiful younger woman.

It seems everyone have an answer as to why this is happening again, especially the usual television pundits. The answers cover a broad range of speculations from man will be man to powerful men are oversexed. The answer that caught my attention says that power is a great aphrodisiac. To accept this answer as true tends to indict all powerful men even those who are loyal to their spouses.

I believe there is another answer that is more profound than the need to satisfy an overactive sex drive. To suggest that all these powerful men would risk everything they had achieved solely for sex is a gross over-simplification. It's difficult for me to believe that intelligent men of great accomplishments would conscously risk their political, social, family, and often financial reputation to please a sexual wish.

When we examine this behavior from a psychological perspective: as a symbiotic relationship between two people who have something more to gain from the interaction beyond sex we may reach a different conclusion that make sense.

To understand the sexual relationship between an older married man and a younger beautiful woman the psycho-dynamic of the individuals seen as  symbiotically attached: and each acting out some unresolved psychological issue is would be more productive. The literatures are overwhelmed with incidences in which sexual activity is used to act out hidden or unresolved psychological issues, often from childhood. For instance, rape have nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with anger, aggression, and power.

Whenever you notice a sexual deviation in adults such as perversion and fetishism further examination will reveal some form of fixation in childhood (Freud, 1924). To make the connection I will quote from Freud's theory Principle of psychic determinism or causality which states that "consciousness is an exceptional rather than a regular attribute of psychic processes." In other words, and according to Freud, we are more often driven by unconscious desires and less by conscious understanding. We all at one time or another promised ourselves that we will never again do this or that...and find that we repeat the undesirable behavior again and again. The undesirable behavior may be in the service of some unconscious needs.  Therefore, we should, at least, entertain the idea that knowledge received by out consciousness of what is happening in our daily lives, especially sexual behavior, liable to be incomplete, full of gaps, or driven by unconscious (childhood) needs.

Relationship between powerful older men and younger women may not be driven by power and sex as often suggested. These relationships could be driven by a symbiotic attachment in which both party have an equally powerful but unconscious need.

Symbiosis is understood as a disguised representation of a repressed wish or desire, impulse, or a close but neurotic attachment of one individual to another. This type of relationship have a pragmatic history based on certain facts of every day life. For example, it's common knowledge that the value placed by the mind on erotic needs instantly diminishes as soon as satisfaction becomes readily obtainable; any dispute about this fact died long ago.

Certain school of psychology accepted the belief that a husband is never anything but a proxy. The husband is never the right man. The first claim upon the feeling of love in a woman belongs to someone else; her father, the husband at best is a subsitute. Rather the is rejected or not depends upon the strength of the fixation (Freud, 1924). Some psychological thesis informs us that to experience true love we must set aside our deference for women and understand society's incest taboo.

The foundation been set in which to address several questions that are part of the public conversation since general Petracus' extramarital affair. (1) why do women prefer powerful men? (2) Why do powerful men engage in extramarital affairs more than powerful women?

These are not one answer fit all questions, however, we can agree that power equal priviledge and authority. The President of the United States, an army general, the policeman on the street, teacher in the classroom, and the father in the home; these are all position of power and authority.

Power and authority plays no sufficient role in symbiotic relationship. However, the participants may compliment each other in their effort to relive a childhood fixation. As an adult these childhood forbidden acts are usually act out in the form of sexual activities.

In the power/sex relationship the man is most likely married and older and the woman who is usually younger beautiful and unmarried. Even the novice thinker will have no problem making the father/daughter connection and the glaring incest taboo.

The "incestuous" symbiotic attachment the young beautiful woman (daughter) finally have her first love (father) older powerful man and the wife (mother) is left in the dark. The forbidded childhood wish of the young woman is now complete, and the older powerful man incestuous desire complete the symbiotic attachment.

However, the incest taboo is so strong someone must be punish. Often it is the man who is punish in the form of social, political, and family embarrassment and public disgrace. More likely than not, it is the wayward hudband himself who set up the dominoes that finally espose the extramarital affair. This final act by the husband is the result of deep-seated guilt for violating the incest taboo.

A brief examination of women who seek power instead of powerful men exhibit no conscious need for male approval. As a child these women were not daddy's "little girl." As adult these women do not place men on pedestals. Women with power are more comfortable competing with men, women of power attitude toward father-figure is firm, aggressive and competitive

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William(Bill)Smith, Ph.D. an author, psychotherapist,consultant and personal coach. My practice focuses on online counseling, phone and face-to-face session with survivors of personal trauma,childhood abuse, relationship concerns, and individual (more...)
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